The Origin of Theatre

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Today I read an article that began to explain how acting and theatre came about. It talked about how early dramatics came from myth, ritual, and ceremony; and it cited Joseph Campbell, a mythologist. According to him, rituals were directly related to three things; Power, pleasure, and duty. Power because the rituals and ceremonies were done in attempt to influence and control events, such as pleasing the Gods and having a successful crop season. Also, these events were often made to be a duty to various supernatural powers and or heroes. Pleasure and entertainment were what people experienced while and after watching these. Along with these rituals and ceremonies went myths, and from there people began to story tell and perform the stories for the tales own sake. Leaders of these projects became the actors, and soon enough mankind was stepping toward theatre as a real possibility!

So, the very first plays were based on tales of Gods and brave heroes? As for the Gods this is an expression of religion before it can even be classified as of theatrics, seeing as those had yet to be invented. Religion, being part of the six major aspects of humanity-Political, Economic, Religious, Social, Intellect, and Arts (or PERSIA)-is obviously a large part of people’s lives and thus the choice people made of acting religion out was an act of displaying their own society. And for the heroes, these stories must be of valiant deeds, the sorts of things you would have heard bards singing in the middle ages. Actual acts that happened and were being recounted. Both of these plots are not only mirrored, but completely copied from human life, and support that drama was created in an un-blurred reflection!

~Siobhan

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4 responses »

  1. Were there any specific (super early) political events that were made into plays that the srticle mentioned?
    it sounds like a very interesting article! I didn’t know any of that information!

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